How-To

How To Cook Dried Beans

This pantry superstar is simple to use, inexpensive, nutritious and versatile.

Dried legumes are a cheap, nutritious and shelf-stable ingredient to keep in your pantry. Rehydrate them with an overnight soak and stovetop cook—or more quickly in an instant pot. And click here for four delicious dried beans recipes.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Black Beans

Stovetop: Cover 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water in a pot. Set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hrs or overnight. Stir in 1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda. Transfer pot to stovetop, without changing water. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until beans are tender and water has thickened slightly, 60 to 90 min.

Instant Pot: Combine 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda in Instant Pot insert. Put the lid on. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 40 min (it will take 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, carefully open pressure-release valve to depressurize, 2 to 3 min. Makes 4 ½ cups.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Navy Beans

Stovetop: Cover 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water in a pot. Set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hrs or overnight. Drain beans, then add 6 cups fresh water and 1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 60 min.

Instant Pot: Combine 2 cups rinsed beans with 6 cups cold water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda in Instant Pot insert. Put the lid on. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 30 min (it will take 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, carefully open pressure-release valve to depressurize, 2 to 3 min. Makes 4 cups.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Chickpeas

Stovetop: Cover 2 cups rinsed chickpeas with 5 cups cold water in a pot. Set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hrs or overnight. Drain chickpeas, then add 6 cups fresh water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until chickpeas are tender, about 90 min.

Instant Pot: Combine 2 cups rinsed chickpeas with 5 cups cold water and ½ tsp each salt and baking soda in Instant Pot insert. Put the lid on. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 50 min (it will take 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, carefully open pressure-release valve to depressurize, 2 to 3 min. Makes 5 cups.

(Illustrations by Stephanie Han Kim)

Brown and Green Lentils

Stovetop: Combine 1 cup rinsed lentils with 2 1/2 cups cold water and ¼ tsp salt in a pot. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, using a spoon to skim off any foam that rises to the top occasionally, until lentils are tender but still have a bite to them, about 30 min. Makes 2½ cups.

Directions developed with the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo Plus. Results may vary on different models

Dried Legumes 101

  • Always rinse dried legumes before soaking or cooking to remove stones and grit.
  • Adding baking soda speeds up the cooking process.
  • Want to season your beans while rehydrating them? Get creative with aromatics: Add half an onion, bay leaves, garlic cloves or a few peppercorns during the stovetop or Instant Pot stage of cooking, and remove them once the beans are done.
  • While all dried legumes are shelf-stable, older ones will take longer to cook than newly packaged ones.
  • Save the seasoned cooking liquid from your rehydrated beans; it’s flavourful and can be substituted for broth and other liquids in your recipe.
  • Portion drained cooked legumes in resealable containers or bags and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month
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